May 23, 2019

Colorado Court of Appeals: No Fourth Amendment Violation where Officers had Reasonable Suspicion for Pat-Down

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People v. Martin on Thursday, August 28, 2014.

Motion to Suppress—Investigatory Stop—Pat Down—Fourth Amendment—Search and Seizure—Right to Testify—Waiver.

After defendant refused to exit a restroom at a convenience store, police officers ordered him to face the wall and put his hands behind his back for a pat down search. During the pat down, defendant’s actions caused the officers to think he was attempting to flee. A struggle between defendant and the officers ensued, during which defendant and one of the officers were injured. A jury found defendant guilty of attempting to disarm a peace officer and resisting arrest.

On appeal, defendant asserted that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence because the investigatory stop and subsequent pat down violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Court of Appeals disagreed. The officer had reasonable grounds to initiate contact with defendant, both on the basis of conducting an inquiry into defendant’s welfare and on reasonable suspicion that he was unlawfully trespassing on the property when defendant remained in the bathroom for more than twenty minutes and subsequently refused to exit the bathroom after the police arrived. Additionally, even if the pat down was unlawful, defendant’s conduct of pulling away from the officers, attacking them, and resisting arrest constituted new offenses justifying a pat down.

Defendant contended that the trial court erred by denying his request to testify. Defendant requested to testify after he had waived the right to do so and defense counsel had rested the case. Although a defendant’s constitutional right to testify is not absolute, a defendant is not prohibited from testifying after waiving the right to do so and resting his or her case. Therefore, the case was remanded for hearing to reconsider defendant’s request.

Summary and full case available here, courtesy of The Colorado Lawyer.

Colorado Supreme Court: Defendant’s Challenge of Waiver of Right to Testify Can Only Be Reviewed in Post-Conviction Proceeding

The Colorado Supreme Court issued its opinion in Moore v. People on Monday, February 3, 2014.

Curtis Advisement—Post-Conviction Review—Contemporaneous Objection—Blehm—Knowing, Voluntary, and Intelligent Waiver—Right of Criminal Defendant to Testify.

The Supreme Court held that the court of appeals erred in considering on direct appeal defendant’s challenge to the knowing, voluntary, and intelligent nature of his waiver of the right to testify, and such a challenge may be brought only in a post-conviction proceeding. The Court also held that a defendant need not make a contemporaneous objection to his or her Curtis advisement in the trial court. [See People v. Curtis, 681 P.2d 504 (Colo. 1984), as modified by People v. Blehm, 983 P.2d 779 (Colo. 1999).]

Accordingly, the Court disapproved of and vacated the court of appeals’ discussion and holding regarding the issue of the validity of defendant’s waiver of the right to testify in this case. Otherwise, it upheld the court of appeals’ judgment of conviction.

Summary and full case available here.